A cost benefit analysis

No comment on the numbers themselves but this is the sort of calculation that has to be done.

When an epidemic strikes and containment has failed, it makes sense to try and manage herd immunity. Reducing the rate of infection by intervening allows us to minimise the total number of people who get infected, reduce the peak number of infections and buy ourselves time. But how much should we be willing to spend?

For the thing about “Ee’s not worf it Sharon” is that sometimes ‘ee in’t.

20 thoughts on “A cost benefit analysis”

  1. Nobody has been able to measure herd immunity or even confirm that there is any immunity at all to this one. Sooner or later we’ll have to face it, might as well be sooner. Or, to put it another way, I wanna go to the pub.

  2. Two weeks from infection to hospitalization. Where were you on the evening of April the seventh? Or a couple of days either side? (Assuming you weren’t locked down.)

    And I can’t see that containment can be said to have failed given that the government hasn’t made any attempt at it.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    If we assume the virus is taking those who would have died early anyway, it means the the average live expectancy of the survivors is going up and there’s more survivors.

    Won’t that have an effect on the CBA calculations?

  4. Bavaria has had the Ocktoberfest cancelled for them by political scum. They don’t have to take that. They choose to.

  5. You don’t get “herd immunity” generally speaking, from a natural disease, and especially not from one that’s crossed the species gap several times. What you get is similar to measles before the vaccine became generally available – a steady low level punctuated by a series of waves of infection as the immunity rate drops.

    People tend to forget, before measles vaccines children regularly died from measles, not commonly, but significant numbers did over time. The BCV would be the same, it would persist at a lower level, and then break out regularly into more deadly waves.

    The only way to get “herd immunity” is to vaccinate widely, up to the 95+% level. That should work with this BCV if a suitable vaccine can be made, and it will work until the next species crossing event with a different enough external coat so a new vaccine will be needed. Naturally occurring diseases will stop spreading before the 95% level is reached, so will stick around at a certain low level.

    Apparently the “common cold” is caused by three groups of virii, around 65% by various rino species, 30% by existing circulating BCV’s (Corona Virus types), and around 5% by an adenovirus. And the spike proteins on the existing BCVs are sufficiently similar that people who have had one of those types of “colds” may be sufficiently primed immune wise to not suffer noticeable symptoms. It’s a theory anyway.

  6. “Reducing the rate of infection by intervening allows us to minimise the total number of people who get infected, reduce the peak number of infections and buy ourselves time.”

    I see the second and third points, but why is the first one right? Is it right?

  7. Correct, dearieme. Total number is not affected, just spread out over time.

    I don’t get ‘manage herd immunity,’ either. Sounds like herding cats.

  8. Sorry, JuliaM, I can’t remember where I saw that. There was even some kind of media presence with subscribers. I can imagine that there is a heightened sense of frustration in Germany on account of the number of Herr Professor-Doktors publicly saying “Das ist alles Bollocken”.

  9. BiND “If we assume the virus is taking those who would have died early anyway, it means the the average live expectancy of the survivors is going up and there’s more survivors.”

    Short term, long term? A cull of the weak leaves the remaining herd in aggregate stronger. But suppose the virus is still around ready to strike down any that become weak for any reason. Then underlying conditions have become less survivable. The life expectancy decreases, because all those other conditions are more likely become fatal given the virus.

  10. Thanks for the link and the comments!

    During an unmitigated epidemic, when the current number of infected people reaches a peak, we have reached herd immunity. After the peak, people will continue to become infected, albeit at a reduced rate, but will not be contributing to herd immunity. This means that in total around twice as many people become infected than was necessary for herd immunity.

    During a mitigated epidemic, optimal mitigation involves slowing the rate of infection down (R0 < 1) such that the current number of people infected approaches zero as we approach the herd immunity threshold. In this scenario, we have halved the overall number of people who were infected.

    Note that mitigation must not be too strong, because if the current number of infections reaches zero before we’ve reached herd immunity, when the mitigation measures are inevitably lifted, the epidemic will return. Note also that strong early mitigation may be necessary in order to buy time, but is not otherwise critical regarding the final outcome.

  11. Coronaviruses are RNA viruses, and RNA mutates a lot faster than DNA, so I just wonder about the efficacy of a vaccine. They might develop one for the current variant but by the time it’s ready the virus may be several variants down the road.

  12. Lord Mayors election for London cancelled, first time in over 800 years, so Black Death, great fire, Spanish flu, world wars are ok, but this trumps all of those apparently

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    Richard,

    There’s a reason there’s been no cost benefit analysis, and it’s insane: https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/sage-advice-from-some-economists-might-help

    “ Given the enormity of that, you might think that economists would be involved in the lockdown decisions. But no: there are no economists on SAGE, nor the committees that feed into it. No Roger Bootle, Mervyn King, Paul Ormerod, John Vickers, Patrick Minford nor others who could explain the cost of lockdown and how best to unwind it.

    Advice that has such serious economic impact should not be decided by physicians alone but by economists too.”

  14. Bloke in North Dorset said:
    “But no: there are no economists on SAGE, nor the committees that feed into it.”

    Sadly doesn’t surprise me, but depressing to have it confirmed.

  15. Lt. Gov. Patrick responds to backlash from ‘live comments’ on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’
    “I’m sorry to say that I was right on this: we’re crushing this country, we must end shutdown even if some die”, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tells Tucker Carlson
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP1GkV06PYY

    – Agree. Re ‘live comments’ – they’re infested with Left and Left bots

    However, Left have a warped cost/benefit priority: any cost OK to achieve totalitarianism

    Democrats take the viral path to socialism – “Snitches Get Rewards”
    Beyond the noble motives of keeping Americans safe and free is the ignoble goal of using the coronavirus crisis to remake American society according to progressive ideals
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCZjtQgSuMg

    – Cuomo is completely out of his little closed mind. There’s a sickness going around an around, it’s called Democrats. The people who snitched for the Stasi in East Germany also got rewards

    – Hmm, no comment
    North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is reportedly in critical condition after a heart surgery. White House National Security Adviser Amb. Robert O’Brien reacts on ‘Fox & Friends’ to news of the dictator’s health and President Trump temporarily suspending immigration during the coronavirus pandemic
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnXtg8549zc

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